THE toxic waste dumped in Sihanoukville has been packed up and is to return its originator
- Formosa Plastics in Taiwan.
Jim Pucket a spokesman for the Basel Action Network, a group which monitors the traffic
in toxic waste, said that plans to dump the waste in California fell through after
pressure from residents and environmental groups.
Safety-Kleen, the United States firm contracted to clean up the dump site and remove
the 36,000 barrels of contaminants notified United States authorities it would now
transport the waste to Taiwan.
Hun Sen advisor Om Yienteng who negotiated the clean up deal with Formosa plastics
said he had not been worried by the problems of where the waste was to go.
He said that the agreement they had with the company was that the waste would be
removed from Cambodia within two months of Feb 25 and what happened to it then was
not Cambodia's problem.
Meanwhile the decision to return the waste has been welcomed by environmental groups,
particularly the Basel Action Network.
Jim Puckett said it gave a strong message to large companies about how they could
"This waste being returned to sender is a wake-up call for corporate responsibility,"
"Governments must demand that pollution is eliminated at source and never again
allow polluters to profit from dumping toxic wastes on poor unsuspecting countries."
Taiwanese environmentalists have also hailed the decision.
Lily Hsueh of the Taiwan Environmental Action Network said it put responsibility
for the waste back on to the producer.
"We are very happy this waste will finally be removed from Cambodian soil.
"Now the international groups must stand vigilant and in solidarity to ensure
that this waste is stored safely and above-ground on Formosa Plastics' property.
"Formosa must not be allowed to add these poisons to the many tons they have
already dumped on the Taiwanese people."